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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I'm not terribly familiar with 5e - can you give an example of a system which you consider good for unfocused play, and contrast it with the D&D line to explain your stance?
    Uh ... none. You play an RPG to do what it focuses on, and they all do it pretty heavily. None of them are designed to follow a character through whatever story of them generically and unfocused.

    If one tried to be, it would be a pretty terrible experience for anything. Probably not as bad as taking a focused one outside it's are of focus, but probably not very good at anything in particular.

    Edit: actually, I should say none I've ever read. I've never read fate/fudge or savage worlds. I guess I've heard lots about them being pretty much exactly that. Generic but poor.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Uh ... none. You play an RPG to do what it focuses on, and they all do it pretty heavily. None of them are designed to follow a character through whatever story of them generically and unfocused.

    If one tried to be, it would be a pretty terrible experience for anything. Probably not as bad as taking a focused one outside it's are of focus, but probably not very good at anything in particular.

    Edit: actually, I should say none I've ever read. I've never read fate/fudge or savage worlds. I guess I've heard lots about them being pretty much exactly that. Generic but poor.
    Fate does "games that play out like adventure movies" pretty well. It doesn't do a lot of things well at all (I wouldn't use it for a dungeon crawl, for instance). It's reasonable for other drama-like things.

    Fortunately "adventure movies" sums up a lot of the stuff I want to roleplay, so it works for me.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Its also subjective in that "work" and "[stuff] you don't want to do" are not synonymous.

    Thats pretty shocking, because DND in general and 5e in particular is an extremely narrowly focused game, that constantly gets in the way if you try to step outside what it wants you to do.

    I'm incredibly happy doing what it wants me to do, because I'm either making a character to do that and want to see how they develop within that context. Or running a game and am comfortable with that game style (because it's what I grew up on).

    What it's terrible for is "follow the emerging story of the characters and the world wherever it goes".
    I have no idea why you would think that, but if you have some objective data that supports it, I'd love to see it. I'm running a campaign now that has been all over the place in what we do - from delving dungeons, to a con/heist, to helping an old married couple (of magic users) rekindle the spark, and rapidly approaching a Super Bowl half time style musical event. In no way has the system ever constrained our ability to do whatever comes next. I'm sure that any one of those things could have been handled better in a system focused entirely on that, but I doubt there is one that would have been clearly better at accommodating all of them.

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Credence View Post
    I have no idea why you would think that, but if you have some objective data that supports it, I'd love to see it. I'm running a campaign now that has been all over the place in what we do - from delving dungeons, to a con/heist, to helping an old married couple (of magic users) rekindle the spark, and rapidly approaching a Super Bowl half time style musical event. In no way has the system ever constrained our ability to do whatever comes next. I'm sure that any one of those things could have been handled better in a system focused entirely on that, but I doubt there is one that would have been clearly better at accommodating all of them.
    D&D mostly does zero-to-superhero progression, highly "heroic", combat-centric games.

    The stuff it does outside of that is mostly done by ignoring the system and mostly going freeform.

    It doesn't mean you didn't do those things in your D&D game. It just means that people are saying the system itself didn't do a ton to help you out in that.
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  5. - Top - End - #125
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    BardGuy

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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Uh ... none. You play an RPG to do what it focuses on, and they all do it pretty heavily. None of them are designed to follow a character through whatever story of them generically and unfocused.

    If one tried to be, it would be a pretty terrible experience for anything. Probably not as bad as taking a focused one outside it's are of focus, but probably not very good at anything in particular.

    Edit: actually, I should say none I've ever read. I've never read fate/fudge or savage worlds. I guess I've heard lots about them being pretty much exactly that. Generic but poor.
    Yikes, generic but poor? You may want to play some fate and savage worlds :)

    Savage worlds can be used very tightly or loosely depending on the gm, i use it for one shots that i want a bit more crunch in, as well as longer stuff like deadlands ( horror western) that has a wide range of activites. Now you can use sw to run almost anything ( check out some of the sw jumpstarts) but once you make/choose the setting it can be as open or focused as you want.

    Fate, for me, is a beer and pretzels game. I dont run campaigns in it as it doesnt seem to hold day by day well, but its great for one shots and arcs. It can be slotted with extra bits pretty easy, restricted and opened up, and has a very "action hero" feel. You can go more serious with it, but it has an in the moment feel. I wouldnt use it for a horror or kingmaker style game, but heists, robberys, super heros, gore horror... they would all work.

    Also fate works better with a team of players, the way you can stack and assist works well for group feels.

  6. - Top - End - #126
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    The stuff it does outside of [combat] is mostly done by ignoring the system and mostly going freeform.
    Yes and no. D&D 5e's ability-score-based resolution system (i.e. skills) is really pretty flexible and can be used to handle challenges that aren't explicitly combat. For example, persuasion checks aren't limited to charisma. A character could make an intelligence (persuasion) check to appeal to a librarian's love of obscure information, or a wisdom (persuasion) check by pointing out something unobvious but true about the situation (something Silent Bob was known for). Or even a constitution (persuasion) check by putting up with physical stress without caving or breaking down (think G'Kar refusing to scream when whipped, although that could also be intimidation). Sure, there's a lot of GM judgement call involved but that's not unique to D&D.
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  7. - Top - End - #127
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Yes and no. D&D 5e's ability-score-based resolution system (i.e. skills) is really pretty flexible and can be used to handle challenges that aren't explicitly combat. For example, persuasion checks aren't limited to charisma. A character could make an intelligence (persuasion) check to appeal to a librarian's love of obscure information, or a wisdom (persuasion) check by pointing out something unobvious but true about the situation (something Silent Bob was known for). Or even a constitution (persuasion) check by putting up with physical stress without caving or breaking down (think G'Kar refusing to scream when whipped, although that could also be intimidation). Sure, there's a lot of GM judgement call involved but that's not unique to D&D.
    And for me, I have a lot fewer problems adding to a system where it basically provides no/minimal guidance compared to having to hack out existing mechanics and dealing with the broken expected interactions.

    So having lots of support for combat and not a lot elsewhere works for me because I need the most support in combat and can handle the rest mostly myself. Whereas if you had very opinionated support for other stuff, I'd be much more constrained by the core assumptions of the system.
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  8. - Top - End - #128
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    And for me, I have a lot fewer problems adding to a system where it basically provides no/minimal guidance compared to having to hack out existing mechanics and dealing with the broken expected interactions.

    So having lots of support for combat and not a lot elsewhere works for me because I need the most support in combat and can handle the rest mostly myself. Whereas if you had very opinionated support for other stuff, I'd be much more constrained by the core assumptions of the system.
    works for me too. my group does a lot of different stuff, and we never for a moment stopped to think "wait, but d&d does not support this stuff!"
    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    D&D mostly does zero-to-superhero progression, highly "heroic", combat-centric games.

    The stuff it does outside of that is mostly done by ignoring the system and mostly going freeform.

    It doesn't mean you didn't do those things in your D&D game. It just means that people are saying the system itself didn't do a ton to help you out in that.
    well, yes, ok. now that I analyze what we've been doing, i realize that's true.
    still, i wouldn't call it bad. or, at least, it's as good as one can realistically get.
    I think, if you trouble yourself too much on thinking what the system is focused on doing or not, you are missing a lot of opportunities.
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  9. - Top - End - #129
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    D&D does not "get in the way of" that other stuff - and it even has branches (like skills and mental stats and dice resolution mechanics) onto which one might choose to hang some of those things.

    5e's Bounded Accuracy, OTOH, gets in the way, in that, if I want to convince you of something, my best bet is not to formulate the best argument I can, but to hire a hundred of whoever will work for the cheapest to try to convince you.

    It's a "victory of the masses", "lowest bidder" system. And I'm too much of a Playground Determinator to ever play it any other way - doing do would be highly suboptimal.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-01-15 at 03:00 PM.

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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    works for me too. my group does a lot of different stuff, and we never for a moment stopped to think "wait, but d&d does not support this stuff!"
    One thing I wish 5e had was some kind of generic resource PCs could tap into or spend to assist with non-combat rolls. Like a limited supply of bonus dice, rest-recoverable, that can be added to persuasion checks, and things like that (and hey, combat rolls too, why not?). That would turn social encounters into resource-management things just like combat, which in turn would make it easier (possible!) to assign CRs to them, and therefore award XP for them.

    I'm in no hurry for a 6e, but that's something I would like to see.
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  11. - Top - End - #131
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    D&D does not "get in the way of" that other stuff - and it even has branches (like skills and mental stats and dice resolution mechanics) onto which one might choose to hang some of those things.

    5e's Bounded Accuracy, OTOH, gets in the way, in that, if I want to convince you of something, my best bet is not to formulate the best argument I can, but to hire a hundred of whoever will work for the cheapest to try to convince you.

    It's a "victory of the masses", "lowest bidder" system. And I'm too much of a Playground Determinator to ever play it any other way - doing do would be highly suboptimal.
    Only if your DM lets you do repeated checks, which is recommended against in the DMG. Literally--it says that you generally get one shot at things and your check result represents your best attempt. Only for things that can be retried without chance of failure is anything else possible, and those generally don't require rolls if they're possible at all. And says that if you present persuasive arguments you might not even need to roll at all. So formulating persuasive arguments is much better than trying to hire a bunch of people to...do what, fictionally? They're not there right then, are they? Any reasonable interlocutor would get annoyed, rather than persuaded.

    You're trying to hack the rules, rather than play the fiction using the rules. And that's something that 5e absolutely does not support. It expects active DM involvement in going "wait, that's stupid and crazy. No." Or, conversely, "that's exactly what the NPC wanted to hear, he agrees. No check needed."

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    One thing I wish 5e had was some kind of generic resource PCs could tap into or spend to assist with non-combat rolls. Like a limited supply of bonus dice, rest-recoverable, that can be added to persuasion checks, and things like that (and hey, combat rolls too, why not?). That would turn social encounters into resource-management things just like combat, which in turn would make it easier (possible!) to assign CRs to them, and therefore award XP for them.

    I'm in no hurry for a 6e, but that's something I would like to see.
    I've considered doing something with inspiration for this, but haven't formalized it yet.
    Last edited by PhoenixPhyre; 2021-01-15 at 03:06 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #132
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Yes and no. D&D 5e's ability-score-based resolution system (i.e. skills) is really pretty flexible and can be used to handle challenges that aren't explicitly combat.
    From a system overview level the base D&D 5e mechanic of d20+stat with binary success/fail is no different than, say, Lasers & Feelings base mechanic of d6 under stat binary success/fail (two stats, lasers & feelings, split 6 points between them). In fact it's barely different from coin flipping at this point because the only thing that's different is it isn't locked at 50/50 chances.

    I wouldn't call the flat d20 & binary success mechanic flexible. It's simple, but unless you hack it to be less simple you only have two possible results. You can use it in different ways, but you can use coin flipping in those same ways. Interestingly D&D 4e & 5e don't use the same base mechanic for combat and non-combat. The automatic success/fail on 1s/20s is a significant deviation from the declared base die roll system.

    Compare games to writing. A blank sheet of paper and a pen let you write anything, but they offer no guidance or help in writing. A book of writing prompts, guidelines, and examples can help. A good writer may not need that, a beginning writer can find lots of use in basic assistance. D&D 4e & 5e have combat as almost a "fill in the blanks and choose the next paragraph from a table based on what you put in the blanks" feel to it's combat rules, but "here are 5 prompts a blank paper and a crayon" for non-combat rules. Experienced DMs may like that, they only have to choose monsters and terrain from a list to get a standard D&D combat then they can freeform everything else.

    My D&D 4e DM loved the easy combat prep in that system, but he admitted he was terrible at doing everything else freeform and those parts were lots of work for him to get results from just ok to "lets skip the rest of this". My D&D 5e DM was inexperienced, that one just followed directions in the book. The result was standard D&D combat and terrible everything else because they weren't good at "make it all up on your own".

    When DMing I have no more problems changing or cutting non-combat rules than combat rules. They're all just rules. What I appreciate is having decent rules to use or base my changes on. That's work I don't have to do mid-game. Paranoia was nice to run. A simple mission, simple npcs (about 10 stats total plus gear a power and a secret society), conflicting secret society goals, some iffy R&D experimental tech, an actual unified die mechanic, and a couple building floor plans off the internet.

    So I wouldn't say that a no/lite rules area of a game makes for no/less prep. In fact 4e & 5e D&D's restrictive rules, rule heavy combat, and tons of published monsters seems to reduce combat prep for many people and provides an ok minimum quality level for combat encounters. Those systems biggest mechanical problems and workload for DMs seems to be everything but the combats.
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  13. - Top - End - #133
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Only if your DM lets you do repeated checks, which is recommended against in the DMG. Literally--it says that you generally get one shot at things and your check result represents your best attempt. Only for things that can be retried without chance of failure is anything else possible, and those generally don't require rolls if they're possible at all. And says that if you present persuasive arguments you might not even need to roll at all. So formulating persuasive arguments is much better than trying to hire a bunch of people to...do what, fictionally? They're not there right then, are they? Any reasonable interlocutor would get annoyed, rather than persuaded.

    You're trying to hack the rules, rather than play the fiction using the rules. And that's something that 5e absolutely does not support. It expects active DM involvement in going "wait, that's stupid and crazy. No." Or, conversely, "that's exactly what the NPC wanted to hear, he agrees. No check needed."
    I hire 50 people to post stories about how bad bounced accuracy is?

    A good system - a good rule - can more or less always be followed; a bad system needs constant tuning by the GM. Bounded Accuracy is a bad system.

  14. - Top - End - #134
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    1) I hire 50 people to post stories about how bad bounced accuracy is?

    2) A good system - a good rule - can more or less always be followed; a bad system needs constant tuning by the GM. 3) Bounded Accuracy is a bad system.
    I disagree. Hiring a bunch of sockpuppets makes you less credible, not more.

    2) Then there are no good rules. Because fundamentally there's a threshold question for every situation--what rule, if any, applies here. And that always takes manual adjudication, as rules are not self-executing. Any rule or ruleset that is complete enough to not need adjustment is also too complex to actually use--even computers have some fixed "rulings" in place for their specific situations. As soon as you allow for more than board-game complexity (ie anything other than a fixed set of interactions on a fixed play field), you need some sort of "tuning". 3e had it, it just tried to pretend it didn't. 2e was all about manual tweaking. 4e tried to get away from it and failed miserably at doing so. 5e realized that it was inevitable and leaned into it.

    3. I disagree. Unbounded systems cause way more un-physical and gameable (in the bad sense) outcomes. More than that, what you're complaining about is not bounded accuracy at all, it's 5e's approach to "rulings over rules." Bounded accuracy needs no tweaks, as it's not even a formalized rule. It's a design principle that underlies the rules.
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  15. - Top - End - #135
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by King of Nowhere View Post
    well, yes, ok. now that I analyze what we've been doing, i realize that's true.
    still, i wouldn't call it bad. or, at least, it's as good as one can realistically get.
    I think, if you trouble yourself too much on thinking what the system is focused on doing or not, you are missing a lot of opportunities.
    Well, there's certain things it's just not good at. "I start competent, and get broader" isn't a supported mode, really, nor is "I start competent, and get a bit more competent but not superhero levels". And combats that don't end in complete defeat of the other party aren't directly supported - at least, the easiest way to end a combat is total defeat, there's no first-class way of handling "getting away" by either side.

    The structure of the game is so combat-centric - I mean, classes are hte primary differentiation feature of characters, and they're defined by combat role - that doing something non-combat-focused is really weird.

    A lot of the other stuff is just the game not doing much of anything either way to support or hinder, so is a neutral.

    Oberoni aside, the type of game that D&D "wants" to run is fairly clear (also evidenced by the published modules), and is, if you look at the broad variety of "stories" you could tell, fairly niche and narrow.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    3. I disagree. Unbounded systems cause way more un-physical and gameable (in the bad sense) outcomes. More than that, what you're complaining about is not bounded accuracy at all, it's 5e's approach to "rulings over rules." Bounded accuracy needs no tweaks, as it's not even a formalized rule. It's a design principle that underlies the rules.
    Part of that is the fact that D&D has (since 3.x anyway) combined difficulty and permission into one thing... IOW, D&D hasn't been comfortable with saying "no, you can't do <x> without <y>", it just says "the difficulty for <x> is <z>, and <y> will give you enough bonus to make it."

    Which doesn't really work without unbounded accuracy, and also produces some weird results. I vastly prefer systems where permission is mostly handled separately, and as permission.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2021-01-15 at 04:19 PM.
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I disagree. Hiring a bunch of sockpuppets makes you less credible, not more.
    On the other hand 50 people spreading rumors in taverns that the king is a doppleganger is more effective at convincing the guards than an homeless random adventurer yelling at a gate. That takes longer though.

    Quertus's beef is that, run as written in the book, having 40 commoners following you to read magic runes is more likely to produce consistent succeesses than one genius archmage. It takes the DM saying "no, here we ignore the rules because they don't work for this" to make the game run smoothly. Thus, by his metrics, a rule that you have to repeatedly overrule is a bad rule.

    The issue of even using the rules is another point of difference. Say a player wants to get past a guard, orc, or chimera. If they say they swing a sword, shoot a bow, or cast a spell then there's no questions about if the rules work or apply. It's just roll initative and choose from the combat options menu. If they want to seduce their way past you start by questioning if you want to use the rules, if there are any rules to use, then if those rules are worth using and how to use them. Then, once the DM has answered those questions you can get back to playing the game. To some people a rule that you have to make all those decisions for, repeated and while playing, is a bad rule because it adds more work and takes time without adding value.
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    I wouldn't call the flat d20 & binary success mechanic flexible. It's simple, but unless you hack it to be less simple you only have two possible results. You can use it in different ways, but you can use coin flipping in those same ways. Interestingly D&D 4e & 5e don't use the same base mechanic for combat and non-combat. The automatic success/fail on 1s/20s is a significant deviation from the declared base die roll system.
    I guess it depends on how you're using "flexible." I mean it in the sense that the mechanic can be used in a variety of ways to cover a variety of needs without breaking or even really deviating from its core. D&D's d20 ability-score-plus-mod-vs-DC thing can be used for all sorts of interactions, especially once you embrace that more than one ability is often eligible, depending on how the player contextualizes the desired action.

    One thing D&D doesn't have is a non-combat mechanic for gauging degrees of success. You either bribe the guard or you don't. Any variation is left up to pure roleplaying ("the guard is skeptical, but lets you pass" or "the guard opens the door himself and gestures you through with a smile"). Which isn't nothing, of course. I believe the experience of roleplaying out the guard's attitude is a vital element of the game. But I also see how it's not the same thing as deducting HP during combat. Is that how you're defining "flexible?"
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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    I disagree. Hiring a bunch of sockpuppets makes you less credible, not more.
    Thank you for agreeing with me that Bounded Accuracy fails to model either reality or fiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Quertus's beef is that, run as written in the book, having 40 commoners following you to read magic runes is more likely to produce consistent succeesses than one genius archmage. It takes the DM saying "no, here we ignore the rules because they don't work for this" to make the game run smoothly. Thus, by his metrics, a rule that you have to repeatedly overrule is a bad rule.
    Precisely. Bounded Accuracy is the new Captain Hobo. And, because there is awareness of this, the rules for checks get circumvented frequently, demonstrating how it is a bad rule that cannot be used.

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    Default Re: I Want to Play Too: A GM's Workload

    Stuff happened, I was delayed and enough posts have been made I'm going to let whatever I saying before go. I barely remember what it was.

    On D20 System: I'm actually going to say whether a resolution system (d20+stat, 2d6+stat, dice pools, roll and keep...) is good or not is largely subjective because a lot of it is about the feel of the mechanic. The parts we can quantify are rather meaningless on their own. For instance a +1 on a d6 is a much more significant change than it would be on a d20, you can do math about that. But neither significance nor granularity is better than the other. I have my opinions but that is kind of off topic.

    On Combat Focus: D&D is too combat focused for me. Not unbearably so but I end up doing a lot of reading during combat because it takes a while and takes about 10 seconds for me to figure out what I am going to do next round which leaves me enough time to get a book out and find my place before the turn after me ends. Plus I have had problems where there are things just aren't supported. The main case was when I wanted to gather support/make contacts. The d20 system tells me that I succeeded, but provided no help to the GM on what succeeding in this social set-up move actually meant.

    On Reframing: OK I think I am just going to throw out the old framing of my point and try to get the idea that systems should be easy & fast (relative to the other goals of the system/campaign). So to start, does that make sense on its own? If not, what do you think is unclear/what questions do you have?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    Precisely. Bounded Accuracy is the new Captain Hobo. And, because there is awareness of this, the rules for checks get circumvented frequently, demonstrating how it is a bad rule that cannot be used.
    Well, except that it's not ignoring the rules for the DM to declare that you can't make a particular check if you lack proficiency. Forty commoners proficient in arcana should produce pretty consistent results. We use development teams IRL for that reason (among others).
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    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    I guess it depends on how you're using "flexible." I mean it in the sense that the mechanic can be used in a variety of ways to cover a variety of needs without breaking or even really deviating from its core. D&D's d20 ability-score-plus-mod-vs-DC thing can be used for all sorts of interactions, especially once you embrace that more than one ability is often eligible, depending on how the player contextualizes the desired action.

    One thing D&D doesn't have is a non-combat mechanic for gauging degrees of success. You either bribe the guard or you don't. Any variation is left up to pure roleplaying ("the guard is skeptical, but lets you pass" or "the guard opens the door himself and gestures you through with a smile"). Which isn't nothing, of course. I believe the experience of roleplaying out the guard's attitude is a vital element of the game. But I also see how it's not the same thing as deducting HP during combat. Is that how you're defining "flexible?"
    See, d20+stat vs. # is, to me, no different than d20-# under stat except in presentation. That's what we did in AD&D. Even changing the die size doesn't even make a difference as long as you're using a flat probability. Which means that other than presentation it's also the same as d100+mod vs. #, or d100-mod under skill. And Call of Cthulhu has used d100-mod under skill for it's entire existence (and also d100 under stat x5 which on a 3-18 scale is pretty much the same). So all this gushing over the 'flexibility' of d20+m vs. # goes right past me because it's nothing new and doesn't seem especially useful.

    The 2009 anniversary Paranoia generates skill/stats in the 5-14 range, then gives a +/-4 for specialization/weakness and rolls a d20 against those. Ex: 1d10+4 for your Violence stat, then +4 to energy weapons (everyone gets that) and up to two more +4s in exchange for taking an equal number of -4s, so you could grab +4s in say agility & fine manipulation in exchange for -4s in thrown weapons and vehicle combat. It runs on d20 under the stat/skill, but on a modified blackjack style system. 1= barely a success, maybe with complications. Roll your number exactly and it's a crit success. Roll one above and it's barely a fail. And 20= crit fail. Opposed checks are simple, the higher successful check wins. There's an option to put a minimum on a roll, so min 8 says that anyone with 7 or less stat/skill can't succeed. There's a option to do degrees of success (the weapon damage system works this way) by setting a threshold number and getting a better success for every multiple of it. With that you'd say something was a threshold 4 boot-licking check and the character rolls boot-licking, or the management stat if they aren't specialized or weak in boot-licking. A character with 11 boot-licking has a 55% success rate and can get up to two additional degrees of success, if they had a 16 boot-licking 80% success rate and up to 4 degrees of success. To me this is much more flexible than d20+stuff and there's even less math.

    I can set a minimum "trained only" competency without having character sheets memorized ('does the barbarian have a +2 or +4 to arcana that he shouldn't roll and was the wizard a +7 or +9?'), it inherently does degrees of success if I want that, people with a good skill are significantly better than the unskilled in both quantity of successes and in the quality of the successes. Plus because Paranoia is a comedy game the flat probability of a d20 is a benefit when it produces the inevitable Three Stooges situations instead of a drawback.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Well, except that it's not ignoring the rules for the DM to declare that you can't make a particular check if you lack proficiency.
    It may not be ignoring the rules, but it's also not solving the problem. The problem is just how the system works on a basic mathematical level. You can bypass the system so you don't hit the problem, but it's still there. It's also not the only problem Bounded Accuracy has (e.g. in a single trial, experts lose to novices an unreasonably large percentage of the time).

    Forty commoners proficient in arcana should produce pretty consistent results. We use development teams IRL for that reason (among others).
    That's a bad argument. The goal is verisimilitude, not realism. How many fantasy stories can you remember where the protagonists said "we need to unravel the secrets of X, let's fund a large research team" versus "we need to unravel the secrets of X, let's ask Bob, our resident expert on X"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    See, d20+stat vs. # is, to me, no different than d20-# under stat except in presentation. That's what we did in AD&D. Even changing the die size doesn't even make a difference as long as you're using a flat probability. Which means that other than presentation it's also the same as d100+mod vs. #, or d100-mod under skill. And Call of Cthulhu has used d100-mod under skill for it's entire existence (and also d100 under stat x5 which on a 3-18 scale is pretty much the same). So all this gushing over the 'flexibility' of d20+m vs. # goes right past me because it's nothing new and doesn't seem especially useful.
    Right, I think we're looking at different things when we talk about flexibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    It may not be ignoring the rules, but it's also not solving the problem. The problem is just how the system works on a basic mathematical level. You can bypass the system so you don't hit the problem, but it's still there. It's also not the only problem Bounded Accuracy has (e.g. in a single trial, experts lose to novices an unreasonably large percentage of the time).
    It solves the problem nicely. If there's a threshold for success, such as specialized knowledge, the weirdness of the amateur beating the expert goes away. Which is how it actually happens in reality. My manager doesn't know how to code. I could clone 100 of him and they wouldn't be able to do my job.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    That's a bad argument. The goal is verisimilitude, not realism. How many fantasy stories can you remember where the protagonists said "we need to unravel the secrets of X, let's fund a large research team" versus "we need to unravel the secrets of X, let's ask Bob, our resident expert on X"?
    Where, in an actual D&D game, are you getting this large research team in the middle of a dungeon crawl? And if you are capable of conjuring up this kind of team, it sounds like you're playing some kind of Rick & Morty scenario where the team is made up of all Ricks, and I think I described an episode of a fantasy story I watched not more than a couple of days ago.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    It solves the problem nicely. If there's a threshold for success, such as specialized knowledge, the weirdness of the amateur beating the expert goes away. Which is how it actually happens in reality. My manager doesn't know how to code. I could clone 100 of him and they wouldn't be able to do my job.
    But what about when there isn't a threshold for success? What if you're having an arm-wrestling competition, or making a burrito, or engaging in any of a thousand other tasks that the system does not gatekeep behind some particular skill? Also, this is just the Oberoni Fallacy.

    And it's not just "expert v amateur". It's "expert v novice" too. It's true that, when skill levels are relatively close, numbers dominate. But as companies that have experimented with offshoring can attest, numbers aren't always sufficient to overcome skill gaps. Bounded Accuracy simply does not model characters that are superlatively skilled. Given that this is the entire point of the system, I'm baffled that you're insisting otherwise.

    Where, in an actual D&D game, are you getting this large research team in the middle of a dungeon crawl? And if you are capable of conjuring up this kind of team, it sounds like you're playing some kind of Rick & Morty scenario where the team is made up of all Ricks, and I think I described an episode of a fantasy story I watched not more than a couple of days ago.
    You seem to have missed the point. The question was not "has this ever happened at all". The question was "which of these is representative of the genre".

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    So, even tho this is a side point, a bonded accuracy question and npcs and skills.. why do npcs use the same rules as pcs for skills and profs..I mean, in so many other places (classes vs stat blocks, stat mods vs stat blocks, powers and abilities vs (you guessed it) stat blocks) why dont npcs just use skills in the stat block. No skill, no roll.

    Then just pcs are using the crazy swing of skills and bonded accuracy. Everyone else is a more "I am good at x, and cant do other stuff well at all. "

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    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Right, I think we're looking at different things when we talk about flexibility.
    Possibly. It's just the d20+mod thing doesn't do anything it hasn't already done for 30 years and isn't any different from a straight die roll with different target numbers for different characters.
    It solves the problem nicely. If there's a threshold for success, such as specialized knowledge, the weirdness of the amateur beating the expert goes away. Which is how it actually happens in reality. My manager doesn't know how to code. I could clone 100 of him and they wouldn't be able to do my job.
    But D&D 5e's "bounded" stuff doesn't do that unless your manager has a serious Int penalty or the DC of putting "Hello world" on the screen is 21+. If the manager is just "average" and the DC is 20 or less you just have them work in teams of two (helping) and keep those programs that work.
    Where, in an actual D&D game, are you getting this large research team in the middle of a dungeon crawl?
    Hirelings. They carry loot and torches for you. They're a bit out of vogue these days but "bounded accuracy" on perception/investigation checks makes them extremely powerful.

    Anyways, I just find that having a structure or framework for stuff is useful but I dislike things that are so structured they prevent people from doing fun and interesting things. The last couple iterations of D&D do both those things, restrictive and inflexible on combat but unreliable and without any structure outside of combat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    But what about when there isn't a threshold for success? What if you're having an arm-wrestling competition, or making a burrito, or engaging in any of a thousand other tasks that the system does not gatekeep behind some particular skill?
    The system doesn't gatekeep any task behind a particular skill proficiency. The system tells the DM that he may choose to gatekeep a particular task behind proficiency, if the context warrants it. The system also tells the DM to decide if he should just look at passive scores and decide an outcome, again if the context warrants it. This is not houseruling or ignoring the mechanics, which is why...

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    Also, this is just the Oberoni Fallacy.
    ...is not accurate.

    This gatekeeping can be applied to burrito-making if that makes sense. And using passive scores instead of rolling dice can be applied to an arm wrestle if that makes sense. If the DM invokes dice, then circumstances are such that the outcome is not really certain. Sure, there are arguments to be made that the rules don't provide enough detail for the DM to make that decision, but I think that's a separate argument and I'm not convinced it's really true. It's true that a new DM may struggle to make consistent and sensible decisions around this kind of stuff, but a new player may also struggle to build a PC that fits his or her imagination. Over time, though, both sets of players will get more comfortable with the system. I've found, as a 5e DM, I grok what it's getting at mechanically more and more as I play. I know my players have made the same progression.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    And it's not just "expert v amateur". It's "expert v novice" too. It's true that, when skill levels are relatively close, numbers dominate. But as companies that have experimented with offshoring can attest, numbers aren't always sufficient to overcome skill gaps. Bounded Accuracy simply does not model characters that are superlatively skilled. Given that this is the entire point of the system, I'm baffled that you're insisting otherwise.
    BA by itself will have trouble modeling this, yes. BA + the other tools the DM has at his disposal can do it moderately well. At the same time...

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    You seem to have missed the point. The question was not "has this ever happened at all". The question was "which of these is representative of the genre".
    ...since we're talking about representation of the genre (whatever we mean by "genre" here), a TTRPG is not really about one-off expert-vs-novice-vs-amateur gameplay. It's about repeated tests, actions, challenges, etc. The PC with a high ability score and proficiency with a skill is going to succeed at that skill more often, over the length of the campaign, compared to the PC with lower ability and no proficiency. Even without the DM invoking any gatekeeping. Add in the DM occasionally using proficiency as a threshold (which, once again, is perfectly within the RAW and not some kind of houserule bandaid), and that skilled PC will shine.

    I've played a game where both proficient and non-proficient PCs had to complete a task, and both made their rolls, but the DM played the NPCs as being much more impressed with the proficient PC's results. This led to the proficient PC becoming kind of the go-to person for that kind of task among the NPCs, which in turn flavored the way the NPCs reacted to the party as a whole. That kind of thing isn't cleanly represented by any mechanic but it certainly generates results that affect the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Hirelings. They carry loot and torches for you. They're a bit out of vogue these days but "bounded accuracy" on perception/investigation checks makes them extremely powerful.
    Right, but perception isn't the kind of specialized skill that we're talking about here. Most hirelings wouldn't be proficient in arcana, for example, so it's reasonable that the DM wouldn't make checks for them to see if any of them could decipher those glyphs carved into the wall. And like I said, if you did have a group of hirelings all or mostly all proficient in arcana, you got some kind of specialized set of people (who all worked at a mage stronghold, maybe?) and in that case it makes sense that their combined brainpower and experience could provide an answer that a PC wizard might not get.

    One example that comes to mind is Gandalf trying to remember how to get into Moria, and Frodo prompting him with the word for "friend." But in 5e terms, Frodo clearly just did the "help" action that gave Gandalf advantage the next time he made a history check. It wasn't like Frodo, Peppin, Merry, Gimli, Legolas, Aragon, and Boromir all made rolls and somehow "beat" Gandalf. They would never get past that door on their own.
    Last edited by EggKookoo; 2021-01-16 at 06:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    On Reframing: OK I think I am just going to throw out the old framing of my point and try to get the idea that systems should be easy & fast (relative to the other goals of the system/campaign). So to start, does that make sense on its own? If not, what do you think is unclear/what questions do you have?
    The problem is the way it contradicts your other argument, including "The d20 system tells me that I succeeded, but provided no help to the GM on what succeeding in this social set-up move actually meant.". Rolling d20+ bonus vs target number is fast and easy, but doesn't give you what you want.

    Happily, IMO, it doesn't actually *get in the way* of producing rules for what you want: for example, you could just implement a dynamic DC now, of

    5 - Chloe wrings her hands.

    10 - Chloe wrings her hands as she tells you that the man is asleep, and she doesn't know what to do.

    15 - Chloe wrings her hands as she tells you that the man is asleep because she drugged the nearby lake with a sleeping potion, and she doesn't know what to do.

    20 - Chloe wrings her hands as she tells you that the man (and also that deer over there) is asleep because she drugged the nearby lake with a sleeping potion, and she doesn't know what to do. If you can wake him, she promises to pour the antidote into the lake.

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    Right, but perception isn't the kind of specialized skill that we're talking about here.
    Actually, if you look back, I was originally talking about "persuasion", which, as most any 5-year-old can attempt it (some even successfully), hardly seems a "specialized skill".

    My original argument was, getting 40 random unskilled people to make an argument is, on average, in 5e, more convincing than the most talented speaker alive.

    Same with perception: keeping dozens of inattentive bannerman, porters, and torchbearers generally produces better results than having an eagle-eyed PC.

    EDIT: and putting 40 average programmers on a task? That *definitely* won't produce code up to my quality standards, so I can definitively state from a position of experience that modeling programming represents an epic failure of Bounded Accuracy to model reality.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2021-01-16 at 12:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post

    Actually, if you look back, I was originally talking about "persuasion", which, as most any 5-year-old can attempt it (some even successfully), hardly seems a "specialized skill".

    My original argument was, getting 40 random unskilled people to make an argument is, on average, in 5e, more convincing than the most talented speaker alive.
    Except that that assumes something that the actual rules (more than just the strawman context-free theory that people spout) forbid (or at least strongly warn against). Giving multiple bites at the apple without consequences. For Charisma checks in particular (of which Charisma (Persuasion) is an example), that's explicitly stated: to quote from the DMG (page 245):

    Once a Charisma check has been made, further attempts to influence the target of the interaction might be fruitless or run the risk of upsetting or angering the subject creature, potentially shifting its attitude toward hostility. Use your best judgement.
    The rest of the quote mentions that you might (at the DM's discretion) be able to avoid hostility by clever roleplay and a good check. But that doesn't get you another bite, all it does is mitigate your previous failure. The conversation is over, one way or another.

    Earlier, it states:

    Aiding the Check. Other characters who make substantial contributions to the conversation can help the character making the check. If a helping character says or does something that would influence the interaction in a positive way, the character making the Charisma check can do so with advantage. [and in reverse, imposing disadvantage if they say something bad].
    So at most, having 40 people try to convince someone means you get advantage. Which does not stack. But you're also just as likely to impose disadvantage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    The rest of the quote mentions that you might (at the DM's discretion) be able to avoid hostility by clever roleplay and a good check. But that doesn't get you another bite, all it does is mitigate your previous failure. The conversation is over, one way or another.
    Or if you're sticking with actual checks, the DC could ratchet up with each failure. Throw your 40 guys at it and suddenly the DC is 40. In the end it means the same thing, just different ways of playing it out.

    This also connects to the idea that checks should only be invoked if there's a meaningful consequence of failure.
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